[scribus] Scribus on 'modern' machines
craig at postnewspapers.com.au
Fri May 2 11:19:39 CEST 2008
John Beardmore wrote:
> Amount of memory doesn't seem to be a bottleneck, so my guess is that
> CPU and memory speed are likely to be the main rate determining
Do keep an eye on your free RAM during heavy operations. Scribus likes
*LOTS* of RAM, and if you're swapping even a little bit your performance
will suffer considerably.
It's often informative to run the command "vmstat 5" in a terminal.
That'll print some summary system activity data every 5 seconds. You are
interested in the "swap" columns - you do not want to see anything but
zeroes in the "si" and "so" columns most of the time. If your system
starts swapping more than very occasionally, and especially if it does
so when the "cache" memory column in vmstat begins falling rapidly, then
you might benefit from more RAM.
> I guess faster memory and CPU might improve editing speed a little, but
> I assume given Craigs comment, that the extra CPU core won't help much
> there. Is that right ?
Correct. It will help the rest of your system remain more responsive
while Scribus is hogging the CPU, but it will not detectably improve
Scribus's performance. A second core can help single threaded
applications if they're doing lots of async I/O or network
communication, but Scribus does neither of those and won't benefit.
> But will a second core help more with printing ? In other words, does
> any part of the printing process run in a separate thread that might
> benefit from a second core ?
Probably not any part that takes a significant amount of time. You'll
find that almost all the time is spent in the Scribus process preparing
the job; the later parts of the printing process probably happen very
quickly. You can verify this by running:
and kicking off a Scribus print job. When a job appears in the "watch
lpstat" window, Scribus has handed the print job off to the print system
for processing. Before that a second core will not help. After that,
though, Scribus is probably basically idle, and the print system will
most likely only use one core for processing the job. However, you'll
find that the print system gets it done quickly enough that you won't care.
If you're thinking of upgrading it's certainly best to focus on maximum
performance per core rather than on the number of cores.
By the way, many applications (but not Scribus most of of the time)
benefit quite significantly from a fast hard disk, as does general
system responsiveness. I have the same laptop as two of my workmates,
but they got it with only 2GB of RAM and with a 5400rpm HDD. My machine
is *massively* faster, and it's almost all down to the 7200rpm hard disk
though the extra 2GB of RAM does help with caching. Similarly, a friend
built a desktop with a Western Digital Raptor 150 (a 10,000rpm SATA hard
disk) and the performance benefits are quite impressive. Boot times and
program launch times are massively improved as well. So - if you're
using lots of other apps on there, not just Scribus, or you value
general system responsiveness a fast disk is worth thinking about. Don't
bother for Scribus, though, as it will not gain very much from a fast disk.
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